POST TIME: 14 September, 2018 00:00 00 AM
European court rules against Britain over mass surveillance

European court rules against Britain over mass surveillance

STRASBOURG: Europe’s top rights court ruled yesterday that Britain’s programme of mass surveillance, revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden as part of his sensational leaks on US spying, violated people’s right to privacy, reports AFP. Ruling in the case of Big Brother Watch and Others versus the United Kingdom, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, said the interception of journalistic material also violated the right to freedom of information.

The case was brought by a group of journalists and rights activists who believe that their data may have been targeted. The court ruled that the existence of the surveillance programme “did not in and of itself violate the convention” but noted “that such a regime had to respect criteria set down in its case-law”.

They concluded that the mass trawling for information by Britain’s GCHQ spy agency violated Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights regarding the right to privacy because there was “insufficient oversight” of the programme. The court found the oversight to be doubly deficient, in the way in which the GCHQ selected internet providers for intercepting data and then filtered the messages, and the way in which intelligence agents selected which data to examine.

It determined that the regime covering how the spy agency obtained data from internet and phone companies was “not in accordance with the law”.